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Howard K. Stern’s lawyer rips California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown

Outside the courthouse where Anna Nicole Smith’s former companion and attorney is facing charges of illegally furnishing her with thousands of prescription pills, a defense lawyer ripped the California attorney general Tuesday for pursuing the case in what he described as “a blatant attempt to advance his own political career.”

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown “doesn’t care about Anna Nicole Smith,” attorney Steven Sadow told a crowd of reporters gathered for the arraignment of his client, Howard K. Stern. “He has chosen to sacrifice Anna’s medical privacy to further his own political agenda.”

The criticism was a parry to the attorney general’s condemnation of Stern at a news conference last month.

Brown called Stern, 40, the “principal enabler” of the drug use that led to the 39-year-old model’s fatal overdose two years ago, but Stern’s attorney told his own audience of camera crews Tuesday that “Brown, not Howard K. Stern, is the real enabler.”

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The arraignment was pushed back to May to allow Stern and a co-defendant, psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich, to enter pleas at the same time as a third co-defendant, physician Sandeep Kapoor. But as Stern stood silently beside him, his attorney left no doubt that Stern would plead not guilty.

“Howard loved Anna Nicole with all his heart and would never have done anything intentional to harm her,” Sadow said.

The public excoriation by Sadow, an Atlanta attorney who was granted special permission Tuesday to appear in a California court, drew a quick response from Brown.

“Their rhetoric is just smoke and mirrors,” Brown said. “This is a solid case on a very serious matter.”

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The attorney general’s office was part of a two-year, multi-agency investigation that culminated in the filing of conspiracy charges against Stern; Eroshevich, 61; and Kapoor, 40.

In their court filing, prosecutors said all three knew that Smith was an addict and were warned that the prescriptions the doctors were writing for her were dangerous.

About six months before her death, according to the filings, another doctor told Eroshevich that Smith “should be hospitalized and on a heart monitor and recommended that [she] be admitted to an addiction rehabilitation clinic.”

An attorney for Eroshevich said outside court that his client’s treatment of Smith for “acute physical and psychiatric ailments” was complicated by the model’s insistence on remaining in the Bahamas.

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Attorney Adam Braun said Eroshevich “had two choices: Turn her back on her patient or do her best under some difficult circumstances. She chose the latter.”

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harriet.ryan @latimes.com


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